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5 best day trips from Brussels
1. Day trip to Bruges
Cruise the canals of picture-perfect Bruges and see why this fairytale city is one of the most visited in Belgium. The colorful houses reflect in the sparkling waters while the cobbled streets wind through the UNESCO-recognized old city center. Travelers should spend time in the Market Square, see the Michelangelo sculpture at the Church of our Lady, and climb the 366 steps to the top of the belfry for impressive vistas. Don’t forget to sweeten your time in the city by tasting some of the famous chocolate.
How far is Bruges from Brussels?
It only takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive the 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Brussels to Bruges. By train, travel time is just around an hour.
2. Day trip to Ghent
A medieval powerhouse, the charming Flemish city of Ghent is one of the most popular places to visit from Brussels. Ghent is well known for its decorative medieval architecture — a reminder of the city’s rich past — which can be seen in all corners of the city. Visitors can tour the commanding Gravensteen castle, relax in the Vrijdagmarkt square, and take in the expansive views from the Belfry tower.
How far is Ghent from Brussels?
Ghent is located just 57 kilometers (35 miles) northwest of Brussels. By car or bus, the journey takes just under an hour, while the train will get you there in a quick 40 minutes.
3. Day trip to Antwerp
As the second largest city in Belgium and diamond processing capital of the world, Antwerp is a true gem to visit. With over half a million people calling the city home, there is always plenty to do and see. Some of the top attractions in the city include one of the oldest zoos in the world, the Rubens House Museum — former home of the famed Dutch master — and the glittering jewels of the diamond district.
How far is Antwerp from Brussels?
Only 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Brussels, Antwerp is easy to get to. Driving takes only 35 minutes, while the train takes just 10 minutes more. The bus is the slowest method of travel, but it still gets you to town in about 50 minutes.
4. Day trip to Leuven
Say cheers to a day out in the beautiful city of Leuven. Perhaps best known as being the birthplace of the beloved Stella Artois beer, visitors can still tour the brewery and sample the legendary lager today. Aside from the brewery, other frequented sights in Leuven include the intricately decorated gothic Town Hall, the lively Old Market Square, and the historical quarter of Groot Begijnhof, which dates back to the 13th-century.
How far is Leuven from Brussels?
Located a mere 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Brussels, Leuven only takes around 30 minutes to reach by rail or by car. The public bus only takes 40 minutes.
5. Day trip to Dinant
Head out of town for the day to the serene riverside city of Dinant. The city strikes a dramatic silhouette at the base of a towering rock cliff. Atop the cliff, the Citadel of Dinant has guarded the city since the 11th century, while at the base, travelers shouldn’t miss the Church of Notre Dame de Dinant. For music lovers, Dinant was also the hometown of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. Learn about his life and his melodious invention at his former home. Finish off your adventure with a tour of Maison Leffe and a sample of this favorite Belgian brew.
How far is Dinant from Brussels?
By train, you can travel the 98 kilometers (60 miles) in 90 minutes to two hours. By car, the journey takes between an hour and 90 minutes.
Brussels day trip FAQ
What transportation options are best for my day trip?
• Brussels day trips by train
Brussels and the rest of Belgium have excellent rail and train transportation. With the city’s several train stations, the train is often the quickest and best option for traveling in any direction.
• Brussels day trips by bus
The bus is the most economical option for getting around on your day trip. Often costing only a few euros, the public bus usually doesn’t take much longer than a private vehicle. Many tour companies also operate their guided tours via bus.
• Brussels day trips by car
The independence of your own car can be a great benefit. Truly customize your plans and change course at a moment’s notice. A car also allows you to explore at your own pace, so you can really soak up the whole experience.
Should I take a guided tour for my day trip?
While traveling solo can be rewarding, guided tours provide you with the insight you might not get on your own. Many guided tours even offer pickup and drop-off directly from your hotel, letting you avoid any difficulties of planning.
What should I pack for my day trip?
What to pack depends greatly on the time of year. The summers are generally warm, but layers are always a good idea during the rest of the year. Of course, bringing water and some snacks is always smart, especially if you plan to enjoy some of the delicious (but particularly strong) Belgian beer.
Other Sightseeing Options in Brussels
Want to discover all there is to do in Brussels? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Brussels
It was amazing to see the beauty of Ghent and Bruge. We missed the train towards the meeting point and customer service was really helpful. Your leader (Stephan) was externally knowledgeable, nice, friendly and patient. Highly recommend.
I recommend this daily trip Short distances from Brussels and really interested small cities We learn a lot by our excellent guide Andria. She is really professional. She likes her job and treat us as friends and not clients
Excelente experiencia educativa, visual y divertida en un tour completo y con suficiente tiempo para sacar el mayor provecho. Resalto la vasta educación y conocimientos de los guías y la comodidad del bus.
Lovely experience with our guide Andrea. We saw a lot and had a nice lunch in Bruges as well. We also got to visit the christmas market!
Fantastic! Must do! Our guide Mark B was so knowledgeable and fun, he made the experience amazing!